Texans fire coach, general manager Bill O'Brien after 0-4 start to season

The Houston Texans took drastic action to address their 0-4 start to the season, firing coach and general manager Bill O'Brien after six-plus years.

“On behalf of my family and our entire organization, I want to sincerely thank Bill O’Brien and his family for their impact on our franchise," team chairman and chief executive officer Cal McNair said in a statement. "Bill’s leadership moved our organization forward as he guided us to four AFC South division championships, 52 wins and multiple playoff appearances during his tenure. Bill proved himself as a coach and leader in this league. I spoke with him earlier today and told him we are moving in a different direction."

Associate head coach Romeo Crennel will serve as the interim coach for the rest of the season.

"We have a talented team and I have no doubt our players and staff will rally to make Texans fans proud as we aim to win championships and do great things for the city of Houston," McNair said.

Hired in 2014, O'Brien led the Texans to four divisional titles in six full seasons, including the last two, as Houston's head coach. He served as the de facto general manager in 2019 after Brian Gaine's firing but officially earned the title in January.

The Texans dropped to 0-4, the franchise's worst start since 2008, with a 31-23 loss Sunday to the previously winless Minnesota Vikings.

"In the end, it's a bottom line business," O'Brien said in a news conference after his firing was announced. "We weren't able to get it where we needed to get it."

Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien reacts on the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field.

O'Brien drew considerable criticism this offseason after trading three-time All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a package that included running back David Johnson and a second-round pick. Hopkins leads the NFL with 39 catches so far this season and ranks fourth with 397 receiving yards. Johnson, meanwhile, has tallied just 197 yards on 51 carries for an offense that ranks last in the NFL in rushing yards per game (73.5).

The Texans also are without their first- and second-round picks in the 2021 NFL draft after sending them to the Miami Dolphins as part of a trade package for left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wide receiver Kenny Stills. 

O'Brien finished 52-48 in six-plus seasons at the helm. The Texans had at least nine wins in five of those years but never advanced past the divisional round in that time. In January, the Kansas City Chiefs erased a 24-point deficit against Houston in a 51-31 divisional-round win.

"I want to coach," O'Brien said of his future. "I love coaching. I love the relationships with the players, the assistant coaches. ... There's no doubt in my mind I want to coach again."

The Texans host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.